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Dheeran Chinnamalai

Dheeran Chinnamalai

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Published by v.kambili
First Freedom fighter in Kongu region at Tamilnadu
First Freedom fighter in Kongu region at Tamilnadu

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Published by: v.kambili on Jul 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dheeran Chinnamalai
தரன சனம
) original name:TheerthagiriGounder (April 17, 1756 – July 31, 1805) was aPalayakkarar and independence fighter  fromTamil Nadu.He was born inMelapalayam, Erode Tamilnadu, India. He formed a 1,000-strong army in support of Tipu Sultan, and was instrumental in victories atChitheswaram, MazahavalliandSrirangapatna. He was one of the main leaders in the Polygar Wars, and commanded a vast army, notably during theSecond Polygar War that took place in 1801-1802. After Tipu's death,Chinnamalai settled down atOdanilai and constructed a fort there to continue his struggle against the British, whom he defeated in battles at Cauvery in 1801, Odanilai in 1802 and Arachalur in 1804. Later, Chinnamalai left his fort to avoidcannonattack and engaged in guerrilla warfare while he was stationed atKarumalaiin the Palaniregion. He was betrayed by his cook and captured by the British, who hanged him atSankari Fort on July 31 or August 2, 1805.
Early life
Theeran Chinnamalai belonged to the PalayaKottai Pattakarar Family. The Pattakarar family had the title of Manradiar and controlled large tracts of land from their palace atPalayaKottai. Theeran Chinnmalai's grandfather, Kotravel Sarkari Madradiar, waschildless. He adopted two sons; the first son, Senapathy, was groomed by his first wifeand the second, named Rathnaswamy, was groomed by the second wife. Both the adoptedsons were educated at the palace. In course of time, the brothers got married. As was thecustom in those days, the first son Senapathi took the titles of Manradiar in the year 1731and continued to control the lands from Palayakottai. The second son Rathnaswamymoved to nearby village named MelaPalayam and took care of the farming of the landsthat belonged to the family.Rathanaswamy and his wife Periatha had six children in all – five sons and one daughter.The first son was Kulandaiswamy, the second was Theerthagiri, the third was Thambi,fourth was Kirlother and the fifth was Kuttiswamy. Their only daughter was namedParvatham. Theerthagiri who later became Chinnamalai was born in the April, 1756.The eldest son Kulandaiswamy and the last son Kuttiswamy mainly attended to farmingand took care of the vast tracts of lands under their control. However, the band of three brothers Theerthagiri, Kilothar and Thambi devoted their attention to administration andsafety of the villages under their control. They learnt the martial arts of Silambu, archeryetc. They rode on their horses throughout their jurisdictions and formed Kongu youthorganizations. They also trained the Kongu youth in martial arts. They protected their areas from robbers. They also took part in Village Panchayats which were popular inthose days to resolve disputes between families. They not only helped to resolve family
disputes but also land disputes. They became famous for their public service in theregion.In course of time, they got their sister Parvatham married to Ulagapuram MuthiThirumalai Gounder. As they were rich, they conducted the marriage lavishly and madetheir sister happy by giving generous marriage presents in the form of jewellery,ornaments and vessels.
Dispute with Hyder Ali
During those days Kongu area was under the control of Mysore Muslim king Hyder Ali.Hyder Ali was entitled to tax the Kongu people. A Diwan appointed by Hyder Ali, namedMohammed Ali, and a tax collector were troubling farmers in the collection of the taxesin the Kongu area. They humiliated the farmers by confiscating their land – their onlymeans of livelihood – away from them. Hearing the atrocity committed by the MysoreKing's Diwan, Theerthagiri and his two brothers mounted on their horses to stop them. Asthey were searching for the Diwan, the Diwan and his party were returning to their tentsafter colleting taxes. Theerthagiri met them on a road between Sivan Malai and ChenniMalai. They recovered all the taxes from the Diwan and asked him to go and report to theMysore King that Chinnmalai took away all the taxes. Diwan was angry and protestedthat the taxes belonged to Hyder Ali and Theertahagiri would face severe consequencesfor his actions. When Diwan informed him that Kongunadu was ruled by Hyder Ali,Theerthagiri asked the Diwan to inform Hyder Ali that Kongus could rule themselves andthey did not need a Mysore King. He distributed the taxes back to farmers. The story of his encounter with Mysore King's Diwan spread like wild fire and people named him as'Chinnamalai' for this show of bravery.Mysore Diwan was humiliated. But he wanted to take revenge against Chinnamalai andalso wanted to punish him for violating the Mysore King's rights in Kongu. The Diwansent a contingent of soldiers from Sankagiri. Theerthagiri and his soldiers met them ontheir way to Kangeyam at the Noyyal River and defeated them. This was the first battlefield experience for Chinnamalai. Knowing that he has to meet Mysore King in battle in course of time, Chinnamalai collected an army of soldiers from all the villages.He gave the new Kongu soldiers training in many martial arts. Chinnamalai became avery powerful figure in the Kongu region.His house in Kangeyam has become a guest house for the all Kongu activities. The eldest brother Kulandaiswamy and his wife Kempayammal took good care of the all the guestswho visited them by providing food and shelter.Hyder Ali died on 12 July 1782 and his son Tippu Sultan became the Mysore King. After Tippu became Mysore King, hostilities broke between British and Tippu Sultan as Tippuclaimed sovereignty to his kingdom and refused to pay taxes to the British. Tippu Sultanwanted to raise a big army of soldiers to fight the British and invited the Kongus to joinhim to fight against the British. Chinnamalai, and his brothers Kilother, Thambi decidedto join with Tippu Sultan. They also took with them their loyal friend Karuppan and

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